The escalating use of the private car for the satisfaction of ever-growing travel needs had, among other factors, contributed to undermine the quality of life, as well as the economic competitiveness and the overall sustainability of metropolitan areas. It is, therefore, important to address increasing travel needs within the framework of sustainable development. A broad understanding of the aspects influencing travel behaviour was crucial for the definition of effective mobility policies.
This research project was based on two previous research projects concerned with complementary factors and motivations underlying urban passenger mobility patterns. One of these research projects, carried out in our research centre, was focused on the concept of 'structural accessibility' and has been applied to the Metropolitan Area of Oporto. This methodology is designed to reveal the potentials of land use and transport systems to provide the necessary conditions (although not necessarily sufficient) for sustainable mobility; It is also able to provide a design-support tool for sustainable mobility policies.
The other research project developed a comprehensive study of urban structure and travel behaviour and has recently been applied to the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area by Petter Naes. The aim of this methodology, focusing on behavioural aspects, is to identify the overall relationships as well as the more detailed mechanisms through which the location of residence influence travel behaviour.